Why? Because you know you're not truly an EvE pilot until you've had a ship blown out from under you at least once.
I guess I got cocky. I'd been having no trouble with the level 3 mission I was doing other than having to warp out and run my reppers for a few minutes every so often as the damage I was taking became too much. I was holding my own as far as tanking goes, and then I think (I'm not certain, it's been a while) I was warp scrambled, which I was totally unprepared for. I had no idea how or if I could break free and went down pretty quickly after that.
Fortunately, I'd already earned enough with the 'Rax that along with the insurance payout it was a simple matter to put another one in space, but this time I went back to the blaster-rax configuration, and I'm going to stick with Level 2 missions for a while to build up some ISK. Once I have that, I'll start the process of fitting and insuring the Mrym.
While most of the basics of how to play EvE have come back to me quickly, I'm finding that I'm remembering and rediscovering combat strategies as they become useful. Sometimes, it's dumb stuff like remembering to load my weapons or buy ammo before I head into a combat zone, other times it's realizing during or after the fact that I should have played a certain scenario a different way or that there were relevant factors that I'd forgotten to take into account before engaging because it's been so long.
One thing's for sure, once I'm ready to join a player-run corp again, maybe even before that, I'm going to want to refresh my combat skills a bit. There's a number of ways I could go with this.
I did take an Agony Unleashed PvP course a couple of years ago, and I know that their policy at the time was that any course taken which was paid for once can be retaken for free. If that's still their policy I think I'll be retaking that course and maybe even one or two more if I can afford them. I may not remember everything I learned after not using it for a couple of years, but I do remember it was a great experience and one I'm certainly interested in repeating.
There's also EvE University, my old alma mater. They offer some great classes including the basic basics, and the teachers and the students are awesome. I'll be proud to fly with them anytime, anywhere. Yet, at the same time, if my intent is to eventually head into 0.0 (and it is) that may not be the best way to go.
There are also many other corps which offer PvP and other training to their members. I'd expect that some are competent and reliable in doing so and some are not. The truth is I don't know. What I do know is my positive experience with the two corps above. One entails joining a corp perhaps earlier than I'd intended, and the other entails coming up with the needed ships and equipment (some of which I may still have from the last time I did the course), and possibly tuition in order to take the course.
I really don't know what I'm going to do just yet, but before I make that decision I want to be in better financial shape than I am now. I know I'll probably become antsy later, but right now I'm mainly just enjoying being back in EvE, reestablishing myself, and going through the process of fully getting back to where I was in this game in terms of understanding the finer points and how to use them to my advantage. Two years is a long time, and there's been some changes I have to get used to.
The way I'm doing that is by flying these missions, remembering and rediscovering exactly what I can and can't do in combat, what solution applies to what problem. Relearning how to fit my ships has been an adventure as well, but I'm quickly becoming better at it as time goes on. I recognize my mistakes quickly, and I'm rapidly relearning how to correct them. BattleClinic has been a help with this, but I've come to understand that it's caveat emptor with BC loadouts. Some are awesome, but others don't quite meet that standard. I got burned like that for a few thousand ISK by trying out a loadout that looked great in theory but didn't really cut it in actual combat.
I'm also finding where the holes are in my skill training and I've set about plugging them. There aren't a lot of places where I haven't already trained the skills to what I need for what I'm doing right now, but there are a few and more pop up on occasion as I experiment with different loadouts. Now that I'm able to log in again, my skill que is kept full at all times. Currently I'm training Propulsion Jamming IV, which I need in order to run a Tech II Stasis Webifier. This is something I need to do a lot more research on as far as figuring out what skills I should be training now over the long term. As I get more of these holes filled, more and more of the most useful still-trainable skills I have will require major lengths of time to train them to the next level.
Before that becomes a major issue, I want to have a plan, an outline at least, of what skills I want/need to invest time in training. There's still a little while to go before that will become critical, but if I keep that skill que filled 24/7 I don't think it'll be all that long.
And so, here we go again. I pick myself up, dust myself off, and head right back out there, hopefully with a better plan this time. This, in a nutshell, is EvE, and perhaps a big reason why so many of us can't help but keep on coming back for more.